Wages rose 0.5% in the December quarter 2019


The seasonally adjusted Wage Price Index (WPI) rose 0.5 per cent in the December quarter 2019 and 2.2 per cent through the year, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

ABS Chief Economist, Bruce Hockman stated "The seasonally adjusted quarterly rise of 0.5 per cent extended the period of moderate growth observed throughout 2019, and was influenced by the relative stability of the labour underutilisation rate. Annually, both private and public sector wages rose 2.2 per cent; this was the lowest public sector growth rate since the commencement of the index in December quarter 1997."

For the first time since 2012, private sector wages grew at a faster rate than the public sector (0.5 compared to 0.4 per cent), in original terms.

Across industries, annual wage growth in 2019 ranged from 1.6 per cent for the information media and telecommunication services industry to 3.1 per cent for the health care and social assistance industry.

Victoria recorded the highest through the year growth of 2.7 per cent, while Western Australia recorded the lowest for the sixth consecutive quarter (1.7 per cent).

Further information is available in Wage Price Index, Australia (cat. no. 6345.0), available for free download from the ABS website: http://www.abs.gov.au/.

Average earnings, which include changes in the composition of employment and hours worked, will be released tomorrow in Average Weekly Earnings, November 2019 (cat. no. 6302.0).

Media notes

  • When reporting ABS data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source.
  • The Wage Price Index as reported in cat.no. 6345.0, publishes estimates of the change in hourly rates of pay, unaffected by changes in the composition of the labour force. The survey of Average Weekly Earnings (6302.0) can be affected by changes in both the level of earnings per employee and in the composition of the labour force.
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